SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah charter school has been cleared of any improper ties to Islam.
A parent and former board member at the Beehive Science and Technology Academy at 1011 Murray Holladay Road claimed unusual financial and hiring practices and said the school had clandestine ties to a Turkish Muslim preacher based in Pennsylvania.
Those claims launched a months-long investigation by the Utah State Charter School Board, which also involved the U.S. Department of Justice.
Beehive Academy Principal Frank Erdogan says he doesn't know what led the former board member to make the allegations.
"I don't know how it happened," Erdogan said. "Somehow he turned around and started making these kind of accusations. Still, I can't figure it out."
Erdogan says some staff members personally know the Pennsylvania preacher, but he says in no way do his religious teachings make it into the curriculum.
In the end, charter board chairman Brian Allen said investigators found no evidence to support the claims.
"There is a line that can't be crossed, and we just wanted to make sure that line hadn't been crossed," Allen told KSL Newsradio Friday morning. "As near as we can tell, the line has never been crossed."
Meanwhile, Erdogan says the accusations have caused his enrollment to dip from 224 last year to 199 this year, resulting in much of the financial strife the Beehive Academy is seeing. Still, he says he doesn't plan to fight back, nor does he have the time.
"I have my children, parents -- I have to take care of them. That's my focus at this point," he said. "I could fight, but this is not us."
Public charter schools, by law, are supposed to be nonsectarian. The Beehive Academy was founded by Muslim scholars. It offers 7th- through 12th-graders an education specializing in math and science.
"We don't care what faith people are if [he/she] is a school teacher, as long as it doesn't infiltrate into the classroom and is being espoused as part of a lesson plan," Allen said.
Allen says the charter school board is still looking into the school's financial troubles, although he says he is hopeful about a resolution. The Beehive Academy was $33,000 in debt in June.